Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

So Many Post-Christmas Links

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Sneaking in a quick linkdump between light posting due to Christmas and light posting due to MLA…

* The Senate bill has, as you undoubtedly already know, passed. Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum, and even Jonathan Chait have this more or less right: winning ugly is still winning. There’ll be time to get started on demanding changes to the bill, but progressives shouldn’t forget the victory lap. Here’s Kevin:

So it doesn’t feel much like a victory yet. But it should. I’m 51 years old and this bill is, without question, the biggest progressive advance in my adult life. You have to go back to the great environmental acts of the early 70s to get close, and to the civil rights/Medicare era to beat it. That’s four decades, the last three of which have constituted an almost unbroken record of conservative ascendency. And now that ascendancy is just days away from being — finally, decisively — broken. Warts and all, we’re on the cusp of passing a bill that provides all of this:
• Insurers have to take all comers. They can’t turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick.
• Community rating. Within a few broad classes, everyone gets charged the same amount for insurance.
• Individual mandate. (Remember how we all argued that this was a progressive feature back when John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were championing it during the primaries?)
• A significant expansion of Medicaid.
• Subsidies for low and middle income workers that keeps premium costs under 10% of income.
• Limits on ER charges to low-income uninsured emergency patients.
• Caps on out-of-pocket expenses.
• A broad range of cost-containment measures.
• A dedicated revenue stream to support all this.

* Likewise, from Al Giordano: “Health Care by the Numbers: What’s In It for You?”

* All the ways the Left has already destroyed America, prior to the health care victory.

* More change we can believe in: The Calm Act would direct the FCC to regulate TV commercial volume to be pegged to the volume of regular programming, so as not to be “excessively noisy or strident.”

* While I’ve been away, everyone has been talking about reforming the filibuster.

* Obama: One-Eighth of a Presidency. 5 Myths about a President’s First Year.

* David Weigel: “Why I Don’t Write about Sarah Palin’s Facebook Posts.”

The problem is that Palin has put the political press in a submissive position, one in which the only information it prints about her comes from prepared statements or from Q&As with friendly interviewers. This isn’t something most politicians get away with, or would be allowed to get away with. But Palin has leveraged her celebrity — her ability to get ratings, the ardor of her fans and the bitterness of her critics — to win a truly unique relationship with the press. She is allowed to shape the public debate without actually engaging in it.

More on Palin from NYRoB.

* Apparent attempted terrorist attack thwarted over Detroit.

* This week’s This American Life should be of interest to academics and abstainers alike: it describes a typical weekend in State College, Pennsylvania, at America’s #1 Party School.

* Science fiction masters of the decade.

* A Basel court acquitted on Monday afternoon a geologist accused of causing earthquakes there during prospecting for geothermal energy.

* Disturbing escalation in the Mexican drug trade: More than a dozen hit men carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles burst into a house in eastern Mexico around midnight Monday, gunning down several relatives of 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo, the 30-year-old who was hailed as a national hero last week after being killed in a battle that left drug lord Arturo Beltrán Leyva dead. This violates the usual rules of engagement between police and criminals (which I know all about from television) and suggests bad things could be in store for Mexico.

* Whole Foods activism gets a scalp? John Mackey stepping down as CEO.

* Eight classic archaeological hoaxes.

* Most commonly shoplifted books. Via MeFi.

* ‘Parent Mad 6-Year-Old Didn’t Like Peanuts Special.’

* A few days late, Sweden’s unusual Christmas tradition.

Kalle Anka, for short, has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Sweden’s main public-television channel, TV1, on Christmas Eve (when Swedes traditionally celebrate the holiday) since 1959. The show consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book.The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a host (who plays the role of Walt Disney from the originalWalt Disney Presents series) and the annual addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie, which TV1’s parent network, SVT, is contractually obligated by Disney to air.
Kalle Anka is typically one of the three most popular television events of the year, with between 40 and 50 percent of the country tuning in to watch. In 2008, the show had its lowest ratings in more than 15 years but was still taken in by 36 percent of the viewing public, some 3,213,000 people. Lines of dialogue from the cartoons have entered common Swedish parlance. Stockholm’s Nordic Museum has a display in honor of the show in an exhibit titled “Traditions.” Each time the network has attempted to cancel or alter the show, public backlash has been swift and fierce…

* And behold: the future. Via MeFi.

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